COVID-19 Information for the UC Santa Barbara Campus

Last updated: May 22, 2020

UC Santa Barbara‘s Response to the Global Pandemic

Campus officials continue to work closely with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and with the UC Office of the President to provide our community with the most current information regarding the global COVID-19 pandemic. The university has in place a COVID-19 working group and a pandemic response team to adapt to the situation as it evolves.

Students and employees are encouraged to consult with their health care providers and to obtain additional information from the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 websites.

In an effort to minimize the risk of exposure in our community and to assist members of our campus community in managing the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the university is taking a number of actions. These and other important related topics are highlighted in communications to the campus community:

  • Creating the Path Forward. Amid the inherent uncertainties presented by the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, the university is planning for a range of scenarios for research, instruction, and campus operations. More information can be found in the Chancellor’s May 14 COVID-19 Update: Planning Efforts for Our Path Forward.
  • Remote instruction for August Summer Sessions courses. Upon further consultation with campus health experts, faculty, students and key stakeholders, and with the agreement of the Academic Senate, the decision has been made to transition all Summer Sessions courses and programs to remote delivery. More information can be found on the Summer Sessions’ website
  • Visitor to Nanofabrication Facility tests positive for COVID-19. An employee of a private company with access to the campus’s Nanofabrication Facility has tested positive for COVID-19. Additional details may be found in the Chancellor’s April 18 COVID-19 Update: Case at Nanofabrication Facility.
  • Remote instruction for Summer Sessions. In consultation with faculty, students and staff, and with the agreement of the campus’s Academic Senate, it has been determined that all Summer Sessions courses scheduled to begin in June and July (sessions A, C, D and E) will be conducted via remote instruction. Additional details may be found in the Chancellor’s April 13 COVID-19 Update: Summer Sessions.
  • Recommendations regarding face coverings. The Centers for Disease Control and the California Department of Public Health encourage individuals to wear face coverings when they are out in public. UC Santa Barbara health experts also recommend the use of face coverings for people who come to campus to perform essential university functions. More information may be found in the Chancellor’s April 7 COVID-19 Update.
  • Message from President Napolitano and the UC Chancellors. The UC president and all 10 chancellors announce there will be no COVID-19 related layoffs for any career employees through the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. The full letter, including a note from Chancellor Yang, can be found here.
  • Confirmed Cases in the Community. An individual in Isla Vista and two members of the UC Santa Barbara community have tested positive for COVID-19, though they have not been on campus since the period prior to their exposure. The Isla Vista resident is not known to be affiliated. More information can be found in the Chancellor's March 31 COVID-19 Update: Confirmed Cases in Our Community.
  • Commencement. The campus’s annual commencement ceremonies have been postponed. A virtual ceremony will take place in June and an in-person ceremony will be held when it is safe to do so. More details can be found in the Chancellor’s March 26 COVID-19 Update: Commencement.
  • UCSB Response Fund. To assist those in our campus community who have been impacted personally and/or economically by COVID-19, the UCSB Response Fund has been established. Gifts to the fund help the university address existing and emerging critical needs of our students, faculty and staff, including assistance for students’ continued education, operations that support our teaching mission and the platform to advance crucial research around COVID-19. Learn more about our philanthropic effort.
  • Stay-at-Home Order. Governor Gavin Newsom, the California State public health officer and the director of the California Department of Public Health issued an order directing all residents of California to stay at home or in their place of residence effective immediately and until further notice. State and local government functions, including the higher education sector, will remain open. More details can be found in the Chancellor’s March 19 COVID-19 Update: Statewide Stay-at-Home Order.
  • Library Closure. The UC Santa Barbara Library and the Music Library are closed to patrons.
  • Additional Closures/Limited Hours. While the campus remains open, all units have curtailed their activities or limited their hours of operation. The following list is not comprehensive. Contact individual departments, units and organizations directly for their hours of operation and availability.
    • Mosher Alumni House – closed
    • Recreation Center – closed
    • Children’s Center(s) – closed
    • Art, Design & Architecture Museum – closed
    • Student Resource Building – closed
    • UCen – closed
    • The Club & Guest House – closed
  • COVID-19 Test Results. All five of the UC Santa Barbara students identified March 14-15 in Isla Vista who self-reported possible contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case or have travel to areas with confirmed COVID-19 cases have tested negative for COVID-19, according to information released by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. 
  • Executive Order on Paid Administrative Leave. Effective immediately per an executive order from UC President Janet Napolitano, UC employees are eligible to receive up to 128 hours paid administrative leave in order to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, subject to certain conditions. Details are included in the Office of Human Resource’s Executive Order Concerning COVID-19 and the Usage of Paid Administrative Leave. The executive order supersedes the temporary leave provisions previously issued by the Office of the President.
  • Remote Instruction. The campus will be offering only remote instruction for Spring Quarter. The campus will remain open and operational, but students who can safely do so are urged to leave and take all of their personal items from their university-owned housing. Additional information can be found in Chancellor Yang’s March 14 COVID-19 Response Update and Spring Quarter Guidance. In addition, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs has provided further clarification in the form of FAQs.

The UC Office of the President is monitoring the situation as it unfolds in California and around the globe and is also providing regular updates.

The campus community is being updated through Student Health Services as new information is learned about COVID-19. In addition, a coronavirus Q&A with campus health experts can be found on The Current, and the Office of International Students and Scholars is providing information as well.

COVID-19 Symptoms and Prevention

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure. These include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Any student who suspects they have influenza or coronavirus should contact Student Health Services. Faculty and staff members should contact primary health care providers.

Seek medical attention immediately if you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19. These include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse or bluish lips or face. Note: This list is not inclusive. Consult your health care provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person. Recent studies indicate people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely play a role in the spread of COVID-19. 

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, and the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The CDC recommends the following safety precautions:

  • Practice social distancing. Social distancing is also called physical distancing — keeping physical distance between yourself and other people outside of your home. That means:
    • Stay at least 6 feet from other people
    • Do not gather in groups
    • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
  • Use face coverings. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, whether or not you have upper respiratory symptoms. Cloth face coverings should:
    • fit snuggly but comfortably against the side of the face
    • be secured with ties or ear loops
    • include multiple layers of fabric
    • allow for breathing without restriction
    • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
  • Clean your hands frequently.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Also, it’s not too late to get a seasonal flu vaccine on campus at Student Health Services. Flu shots are covered for students with UCSHIP insurance, and are $30 for students without UCSHIP. Students may schedule an appointment by online through the GATEWAY Portal. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (9 am to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays). Faculty and staff members should contact their health care providers for information on flu shots.

What Should I Do if I Think I Have Coronavirus

Anyone in our campus community who suspects they have influenza or coronavirus should stay home. Students should call Student Health Services, or their primary health care provider, prior to arriving at the medical office. This will allow us to provide you with information regarding your illness and to plan for your visit to the clinic, if necessary. Faculty and staff members should contact their provider for additional instructions about seeking care.

Preventative actions help mitigate the spread of respiratory diseases. Based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Student Health Services has developed additional screening and has implemented additional protocols to help identify possible cases of coronavirus to provide optimal care for those with symptoms and to protect other patients and staff.

UC Santa Barbara students should call Student Health Services at (805) 893-7129 to speak with an advice nurse. Faculty and staff members should call their health care providers immediately for care.

Counseling and Community

Some members of our campus community may be affected by the virus without themselves being sick. The news, and especially the uncertainty, can feel very scary. Some also also have concerns regarding family members and friends in other areas who are sick or who are at increased risk.

We want to help if you are struggling. Students can call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (805) 893-4411 to schedule an appointment with a counselor or to hear more about counseling resources on campus. After-Hours Phone Counseling also is available at that number.

Faculty and staff members can contact the Academic and Staff Assistance Program (ASAP) at (905) 893-3318.

We also should come together as a campus to reject any xenophobia, bigotry or racism brought about by the virus.

Travel Advisory

Regularly updated COVID-19 travel advisories are available from the UC Office of the President. Policies on travel to countries affected by COVID-19 will reflect the assessments of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of State.

The University is recommending against all non-essential University-related travel, international and domestic, for UC Santa Barbara employees. This guidance is in addition to current UC systemwide restrictions already in place to CDC Level 3 (widespread community transmission) and Level 2 (sustained community transmission) countries. See the CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel.

Any employees who do travel for business are reminded to register their trips, which is required by UC Santa Barbara policy and provides customized, real-time travel updates and alerts.  

With spring break approaching, we also encourage our faculty, staff, and students to carefully consider the risks associated with travel, both international and domestic. All personal international travel is strongly discouraged and we urge extreme caution and judgement for personal domestic travel.

Relevant Links

Additional Information for Staff, Faculty, and Students

Other Resources